P52 34/52 Dawn Santa Clara County

Copyright © 2014 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVEDP52 34 of 52 Dawn Santa Clara County

Mornings are arriving a little later, and chillier these days and with that I’m finding it a little harder to get out of the house for a hike or walk. Once I get out I am usually very happy that I did.
This morning was especially nice as we had a lot of clouds which meant there might be some color, and I got lucky and had “God Rays” too, and there was a bonus; the sign marking the trail’s boundary is gone! 

YEAH! I have spent years framing around it, cloning it out, or cropping it out. It was lovely shooting and not have to deal with it, or deal with it later in post development.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they don’t replace it, and if they do they put it somewhere that doesn’t hinder the view. 

Nikon D700| AF-S Nikkor 17-35@ 17mm| f20| 5 seconds| ISO 200| Tripod| B+W 6 stop ND filter

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Morning Moon

Copyright © 2014 Deborah M. Zajac. All Rights Reserved.

Morning MoonWhile waiting for the sun to crest the mountain tops to the East I turned to look southwest and captured the Moon shining down on the little tree that sits atop the summit of The Steep Hill.

Nikon D700| AF Nikkor 28-105mm micro| Hand-held

Post Thanksgiving Repast Hike

Copyright © 2012 Deborah M. Zajac. All Rights Reserved.

All of us were feeling heavy and a bit groggy from the Thanksgiving Feast so we decided to hike up to Mission Peak to shake it off, and keep a tradition going. When my son comes home for the holidays we come up here at least once together. This time my husband came along too. The light was gorgeous at the top when we arrived.

It was a lovely afternoon, sunny, and warm, and it didn’t get chilly or windy until we were near the top. I didn’t outdo any records making it up here this time. The rich food of the day before and not hiking for a few weeks paid its toll.

Near the trail-head there were several Magpies hanging around. Here is one landing on a post along the trail. I think these birds are pretty, but they gross me out!

There are quite a few new calves up here now, and I saw a pretty big Red-Tail Hawk hanging around looking for something to eat near the top. There were also quite a few other people making this trek.

Calf with Caramel Ears

We stayed long enough to snap a photo, and head down. We wanted to get down before dark; we almost did.

Nikon D700| Nikkor 28-105@35mm| Manual Priority| Hand-held

An Ice Plant Sunset

Copyright © 2012 Deborah M. Zajac. All Rights Reserved.

I decided to spend the night in Santa Cruz the night before shooting the Moonset at Pigeon Point Lightstation. I would be able to sleep in an extra 40 minutes. Which meant I could sleep until 3:45AM and only drive 30 minutes to my shooting location, and I would get to spend some time with my friend Rainey.  We met at the University of Santa Cruz Arboretum to photograph the Allen’s Hummingbirds that return each February to the succulent garden at the Arboretum. They are so cute, and very active. This guy hardly stayed still 2 seconds together.  He looked kind of cross about me taking his photo a few times. You don’t suppose he’s sticking his tongue out at me do you?

We stayed at the Arboretum until closing time then we went to Vasili’s Greek Restaurant on Mission Blvd. for dinner. We shared an order of SPANIKOPITA: Spinach and Feta Cheese Baked in a Filo Dough Triangle which was served with fresh sliced lemon to squeeze over the warm filo triangles, and an order of KEFTETHAKIA: Greek Meatballs. These were served sitting in a thin layer of extra virgin olive oil, and garlic vinaigrette.  These were to die for! We both wished we had ordered these for our entrée.

We both ordered the HORIATIKI SALATA for our entrée.  A salad of  Capers, Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Bell Peppers, Red Onions, Feta Cheese, Pepperoncini & Greek Olives, tossed with a light vinaigrette and topped with a slice of fresh French bread for dipping into the vinaigrette. They offer 2 sizes small and large. The small was  more than plenty.

Neither one of us had room for dessert. I will definitely be returning to Vasili’s.

From here we went over the Natural Bridge State Beach to shoot the sunset. (See 1st photo) After the sun went down, and the color faded we began to pack up and call it a night, when a woman who parked in the spot next to me asked,” Are you taking photos of that thing in the sky? What is it?” I looked up and saw what looked like a rocket streaking across the sky heading southwest with a long contrail then at that moment something broke off the contrail and it fell toward the sea.

and the end of the contrail with the little piece falling off …

Then it just disappeared. Poof. It burned up. A meteorite? Space junk? We have no idea. There was nothing in the paper. Perhaps it was  just a flare? It made for an interesting end to our afternoon and evening.

Rainey and I went for a coffee, then said good-night  as we both had early wake-up calls. Her’s for work, mine for a Moonset.

Santa Cruz, California, Natural Bridges State Beach, Nikon D700| Nikkor 17-35mm & 80-200mm| Induro Tripod| Dinner photo taken with my iphone

 

 

Kayaker on Lake Tahoe

Copyright © 2011 Deborah M. Zajac. All Rights Reserved.

This was a fortuitous shot. One of those shots you imagine before hand then all too often  it never happens when you get to the spot. While scouting out positions to shoot Bonsai Rock at sunset I decided to wait in the shade of this pine tree while my friend Dali was taking off his waders as he had just come out of the lake. I was gazing at the lake when this kayaker rowed  just outside my frame. I couldn’t believe my luck! I have so often wished for  a surfer, sailboat, or ship to come along when shooting bodies of water. My second thought is usually, ” if I were able to paint I’d put  X right there”.  I was thrilled. I know something like this won’t happen every time I want it to.

Nikon D700| Nikkor 17-35@ 22mm| f14| 1/40 sec| ISO 200| Manual Mode| Hand-held| Circular Polarizer

Dali in the Lake

In Cook’s Meadow

After an already great day in and out of Yosemite Valley we went to Cook’s meadow to try and get Half Dome lit up at sunset.

When I arrived down in the meadow after scaling a fallen tree, and crossing a little creek, and walking along the boggy grass to a nice spot with a great view of Half Dome it was covered in clouds. We all hoped the wind would shift and clear out the clouds before the sun set.

The top of the mountain was “hot” so I put on my 2 stop soft edge Singh-Ray Grad ND filter. It really didn’t help enough so I fooled around with different apertures-stopping it down and it was still too “hot’. So I took off the the 2 stop and put on my 3 Stop Hard Edge Grad ND filter. That did the trick! After awhile I was blessed with this shot.  It was a fantastic birthday!

Copyright © Deborah M. Zajac. All Rights Reserved.

This is how Half Dome looked when I first got down in Cook’s Meadow.

Copyright © 2010 Deborah M. Zajac. All Rights Reserved

Yosemite National Park

California

Sierra Mountains

Nikon D300s, Nikkor 17-35mm f2.8 AF-S